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by drew

Halo 3: ODST, A Preemptive Review

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Helpful one-line summary for people who can’t read good: “I’m getting Brütal Legend instead of ODST.”

Halo 3: ODST, for douchebags or just jerks?

Lots of my friends are getting real big hards on for Bungie’s new crack baby, Halo 3: ODST. They say to me, “Drew, this game rocks my socks!” “Well it steams my broccoli,” I reply. Truth be told, I haven’t actually played the game, but I don’t really have any intention to do so. I’ve never been a huge Halo fan in the first place; the most immersion I’ve experienced with it is that, through a bizarre chain of events, I now think Korean food “smells like Halo.” The first game I played to the end was Halo 3. I’d played some of the campaign of the first one and a bit of the multiplayer of the second before then but, needless to say, I didn’t have a very firm grasp of the story. After a half-dozen or so hours of shooting the same four or five enemies in poorly designed levels, I came away with the feeling that most of my friends must have had frontal lobotomies to think that Halo was the pinnacle of modern gaming. By contrast, I beat Call of Duty 4 in an even shorter time, but spent a much lower percentage of it wandering around, backtracking, or getting warped back to inconsistently placed checkpoints. Furthermore, I found myself much more attached to the characters. When *SPOILER FRIGGIN’ WARNING* Miranda Keys *ALL FRIGGIN CLEAR* died in Halo 3, I didn’t give a flying flip. Conversely, when *AGAIN WITH THE SPOILERS* Captain Price and Gaz *THAT WAS A CLOSE ONE* kicked the bucket, I literally let out a saddened “Awww!” To be fair though, I admit I was relieved that *LAST ONE PROMISE* the American player character *ALRIGHTY* got deep fried so I wouldn’t have to put up with his squadmates constantly yelling “Bad guys in the open!” in the same kind of voice a ten-year-old boy would use to warn his mates of the impending treehouse assault by the neighborhood girls.

Either way, ODST. For one, the acronym is stupid and doesn’t flow. Until the commercials started polluting the airwaves, I thought it was OSTD, as if it was some kind of occult sexually transmitted disease, instead it sounds like Ontario daylight savings time. Another thing is the troopers themselves. From what I’ve gleaned about the story, you’re basically part of the crew of Firefly. I think this is big, fat, honkin’ STUPID. I’ll admit that I watched the show and liked it a bit, even if my overall goal in watching was to be able to see the movie so my Blockbuster subscription wouldn’t go completely to waste. At the time, I was completely caught up on Lost and the Office had started to get a bit dull, so I was desperate for a new show. I find it strange that Bungie would put in their commercial, frat boy franchise obvious homages to the characters of a cult TV show that is worshiped by the nerdliest of the nerds. Halo is a series for people with very low standards, or at least it is now. I’ve now beat Combat Evolved and I’ve got to say, that while the level design was at best repetitive and at worst labyrinthine, the story, gameplay, and overall experience were a lot more enjoyable and fun. But the thing is, I’m much more interested in filling in the gaps with Halo 2 than playing through the adventures of Mal Reynolds and his spunky crew in ODST.

Also, I’m against the game in principle because it looks like just more of the same. Now I have nothing against sequels, especially not in gaming, but once a developer reaches the fourth iteration of a successful formula without any major changes to the concept or implementation, I’ll have to ask them to please watch the trailer for Brütal Legend. Now that is the kind of game I look forward to. You don’t see Tim Schafer making Psychonauts 2: The Last Hemisphere, do you? What I’m getting all excited about isn’t just the heavy metal (hit and miss), Jack Black (fair share of crap), or the humor (will probably rock, actually), it’s the fact that Brütal Legend is a new idea. It’s the same principle that made Pixar so successful, ideas so crazy and unique that you can’t imagine how the writers came up with them without divine inspiration. It doesn’t take much more than a coin flip to make a game where you shoot aliens as a space marine. Even the first trailers for ODST made it look like a radical departure from the run-and-gun-and-loathe-your-squadmates of Halos 1-3 to a more stealth-based, exploration style . But the gameplay videos seem to show that you’re still running and gunning and still have to put up with all your teammates’ “witty” banter over your radio.

But, honestly, I haven’t played it so there’s a slim chance it could surprise me. The thing is, though, that the trailers, reviews, gameplay footage, and franchise history don’t give me any motivation to give it that chance. Of course, I might just borrow it from somebody and play it just to get riled up some more. I’m crazy like that.


Written by Drew Wellman

09/24/2009 at 4:11 PM

Posted in Everything

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